Microsoft woos small biz world with new server bundles
Sizing up the little guy
Microsoft has launched two server products aimed at small biz and mid-sized companies.
Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) is designed for firms with up to 75 users or PCs. Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS) is intended for businesses with up to 300 users or PCs. Both are generally available.
Microsoft, like every other tech company, is keen to use the financial crisis as a way to convince nervy businesses that parting with some cash for a new product will give them a helpful leg-up amid the turmoil.
So it is offering customers licensing and financing options to give SMEs “flexible payment terms” that can run from 24 to 60 months.
Microsoft also hopes to convince customers, who have in the past warily sniffed around the firm’s archaic licensing agreements, that it has improved and simplified the process.
The company announced prices for the products that come bundled with Exchange Server, Windows Server and SQL Server, in May this year.
Windows SBS 2008, including five client access licenses (CALs), comes in at $1,089 with additional CALs costing $77 a pop.
IT departments will need to shell out $1,899 for Windows EBS 2008, which also includes five CALs, with each extra licensed computers connecting to a server priced at $189 each.
Hardware partners including Dell, Hewlett Packard and IBM have already built systems optimised for the new products, in the hope of reeling in the little guys. ®
@AC Posted Thursday 13th November 2008
Funnily enough, in my experience Windows has proven to waste a hell of a lot more time than Linux when it comes to adminstration. It is really a case of using Windows if your time has little value, for me at least.
The time I spend installing, reinstalling, patching, running AV updates, working around bugs (like the fact Windows will skip some files without telling you if you tell it to copy too many at once) troubleshooting and securing from the myrid of security holes is so wasteful that even though my company (A SME with ~50 people no less, running MS SBS) pays me for the time I do, I still feel like I could have spent the time in a better way.
The only thing I can say is that while Windows is easier to set up initially (except WSUS, which I have been trying to get to work for the last 3 weeks), it is much more of a pain to maintain. I set up our main internal server to run Linux, took a week of setting up, and it has so far ran over 190 days without a reboot, and about 180 days since I had to even log in to it, let alone fix any problems. It just works.
1 x M$ Action Pack suscription = £200, savings of £10k+..
SBS = good EBS = BAD
SBS is reasonably priced, especially with the SQL option just go try out reporting services which is a stonking tool for the price point. What SBS offers that *inx versions dont normally is:
* Exchange - so thats shared address lists, shared calendars, task etc :)
* Previous versions - users can right click on a file and recover a previous version without needing to call IT. I support several companies remotely and this saves me talking them through putting a tape/disk back in the server.
* Sharepoint - web portal for sharing docs and notices with people, yay.
* Remote Web Workplace - terminal server access to your desktop from home, this is a major bonus of SBS.
* Standard - if your server is SBS you can always switch to a different support provider, if its *inx they may never have seen that variety before. Plus M$ do support calls for a fixed fee until it is resolved, which helps you sleep at night.
Well it need 4 physical servers if you have the SQL running. the servers are as follows:
1 = SQL server - you dont want to put anything else on this box
2 = management server - you cant put anything else on this box.
3 = exchange server - Should really only be exchange
4 = DC and file server - this is where most stuff will end up I guess.
So thats 4 servers, but not a great deal of roll seperation as your file server either ends up on the DC or the exchange server. And the sharepoint/webserver will end up on one of those as well.
Oh and the cost is worse than buying seperate server versions! which is what we have just done.